Thursday 16 January 2020

Smokey Blue’s Away (and returned)

Hullo. I’ve been away for a little sleep and woken up covered in dust with leaves in my eyes. As my young family coughs and snorts abed all around me, what do I see? Well for a start, a country absolutely buggered about by politicians of every hue and a general sense of snarling division and malaise. What else? A seeming growth in the concept known as ‘hauntology’, with ‘ole great books published about how our memories and landscape have reverberated and ricocheted through our consciousness over the years. There’s new music and films and a strain of interest in what him off of the League of Gentlemen has called ‘Folk Horror’. Nothing about covered markets or 70s little old ladies though, mores the pity. But I digress from the real reason for my reanimation.

This is the only known film of Muffin playing The Sutherland Brothers ‘Smokey Blues Away’, and one of the few surviving clips available from ‘Lift Off with Ayshea’, ITV’s musical show, which seem to have featured a rum collection of artistes who never quite chimes with the record buying public. The clip seems to have been uploaded by Muffin’s bass player, who recorded the performance from his TV on Super 8, and then dubbed the rather groovy music over the top. The only known faded clip of a band appearing on a wiped TV show, playing a song whose tune is based on the Hovis theme (one for you Classical music lovers).  If that’s not hauntology, I don’t know what is. Now where’s that book deal? Be seeing you!

Post Scriptum

As a regular buyer of the fantastic Shindig magazine, I regularly leave it lying around in the living room for one of my two small children to tidy away.  This song was one I often sang to my son as he screamed gently all night as a baby. Picking up the last issue, he squinted at a picture of Flintlock or some such, and asked, “Daddy, is that Smokey Blues?”  Nothing ever dies if you keep it’s memory alive.